Microsoft Think Next forum concludes, eight start-ups graduate

Microsoft said Think Next 2015 – a forum that brought thought leaders in technology driving transformation via innovation together under one roof – concluded in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The forum not only saw the participation of more than 800 delegates from leading corporates, investors, thought leaders and delegates from Microsoft who partnered to push the collaborative innovation agenda for the ecosystem, but also witnessed the graduation of Microsoft Ventures’ winter batch 2015.

Eight certified graduating start-ups from the batch, namely, Canvasflip, Cloudcherry, Shotang, Flutura, KNOLSKAPE, Vymo, Vakilsearch and Vigyanlabs showcased their innovative solutions.

Meanwhile, two senior leaders – Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist at Microsoft, and Scott Coleman, general manager, Microsoft Ventures shared lessons they learnt while working with entrepreneurs across the globe.

A round table focused on topics such as current valuation levels, potential Initial Public Offerings, Unicorns in the venture market and mergers.

Unicorn is a term in the investment industry, in particular venture capital industry, which denotes a start-up company whose valuation has exceeded $1billion.

A session ‘Fireside Chat with Author Devdutt Pattanaik’ discussed the lessons budding entrepreneurs could derive from mythology and stories passed down the generations.

In pact with 3 corporates

Microsoft Ventures in India announced partnerships with three corporate houses to provide startups direct customer access, market access and investment access under its #CoInnovate programme at the Think Next 2015 forum.

Microsoft Ventures is a global initiative, which with its tailor-made offers to suit the needs of start-ups, tools, resources, knowledge and expertise at every stage of maturity, empowers entrepreneurs around the world on their journey to build great companies.

The #CoInnovate programme of the Microsoft Ventures in India connects mature startups with corporates — that get access to innovative solutions for their business needs while providing greater market access for the startups.

“Support for innovators and entrepreneurs has always been part of Microsoft’s DNA. We have been in India for 25 years now, and worked with businesses and governments alike,” said Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft Corporation (India), said at the forum.

“Through the knowledge gained in these 25 years, we have emerged as trusted advisors to organizations of all sizes” be it a startup entrepreneur or a giant conglomerate, he added.

On Wednesday, Microsoft Ventures in India announced partnerships with Citi India, Kyron and Patni Healthcare.

“Microsoft Ventures has always aimed to be an enabler for the startup ecosystem. During the last few years in India we identified that market access remains one of the biggest stumbling blocks for startups, while corporate and governments often struggle to identify the right business partner,” Ravi Narayan, director at Microsoft Ventures in India said on the occasion.

“#CoInnovate programme is the bridge that can connect the two and we are happy that we have been able to bring such reputed partners on board today,” he noted.

Microsoft Ventures has its centre in Bangalore, called accelerator, which empowers startups through mentor-driven accelerator programme designed to help top entrepreneurs get through the challenges of building a sustainable business, gaining customers, and scaling to global markets.